“Jasmine Revolution”
Symbol of peace: Flowers placed on the barrel of a tank
in very much calmer protests than in recent days in Tunisia

'The Protester' - Time Person of the Year 2011

'The Protester' - Time Person of the Year 2011
Mannoubia Bouazizi, the mother of Tunisian street vendor Mohammed Bouazizi. "Mohammed suffered a lot. He worked hard. but when he set fire to himself, it wasn’t about his scales being confiscated. It was about his dignity." (Peter Hapak for TIME)

How eyepatches became a symbol of Egypt's revolution - Graffiti depicting a high ranking army officer with an eye patch Photograph: Nasser Nasser/ASSOCIATED PRESS

2 - EGYPT Democratic Change / Freedom of Speech (In Transition)


''17 February Revolution"

3 - LIBYA Democratic Change / Freedom of Speech (In Transition)

5 - SYRIA Democratic Change / Freedom of Speech (In Transition)

"25 January Youth Revolution"
Muslim and Christian shoulder-to-shoulder in Tahrir Square
"A Summary" – Apr 2, 2011 (Kryon channelled by Lee Carroll) (Subjects: Religion, Shift of Human Consciousness, 2012, Intelligent/Benevolent Design, EU, South America, 5 Currencies, Water Cycle (Heat up, Mini Ice Ace, Oceans, Fish, Earthquakes ..), Middle East, Internet, Israel, Dictators, Palestine, US, Japan (Quake/Tsunami Disasters , People, Society ...), Nuclear Power Revealed, Hydro Power, Geothermal Power, Moon, Financial Institutes (Recession, Realign integrity values ..) , China, North Korea, Global Unity,..... etc.) -
(Subjects: Egypt Uprising, Iran/Persia Uprising, Peace in Middle East without Israel actively involved, Muhammad, "Conceptual" Youth Revolution, "Conceptual" (without a manager hierarchy) managed Businesses, Internet, Social Media, News Media, Google, Bankers, Global Unity,..... etc.)
"The End of History" – Nov 20, 2010 (Kryon channelled by Lee Carroll)
(Subjects:Abraham, Isaac, Ishmael, Muhammad, Jesus, God, Jews, Arabs, EU, US, Israel, Iran, Russia, Africa, South America, Global Unity,..... etc.) (Text version)

"If an Arab and a Jew can look at one another and see the Akashic lineage and see the one family, there is hope. If they can see that their differences no longer require that they kill one another, then there is a beginning of a change in history. And that's what is happening now. All of humanity, no matter what the spiritual belief, has been guilty of falling into the historic trap of separating instead of unifying. Now it's starting to change. There's a shift happening."


“ … Here is another one. A change in what Human nature will allow for government. "Careful, Kryon, don't talk about politics. You'll get in trouble." I won't get in trouble. I'm going to tell you to watch for leadership that cares about you. "You mean politics is going to change?" It already has. It's beginning. Watch for it. You're going to see a total phase-out of old energy dictatorships eventually. The potential is that you're going to see that before 2013.

They're going to fall over, you know, because the energy of the population will not sustain an old energy leader ..."



African Union (AU)

African Union (AU)
Heads of governments during the opening session of the African Union summit on January 30, 2015 at the AU headquarters in Addis Ababa

Nelson Mandela

Nelson Mandela
Few words can describe Nelson Mandela, so we let him speak for himself. Happy birthday, Madiba.
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Sunday, March 1, 2015

Ebola survivors commend Chinese medical team

Want China Times, Xinhua 2015-03-01

China's medical team at a treatment center in Freetown, Sierra Leone,
Feb. 21. (Photo/Xinhua)

"But for the treatment I received from the Chinese, I should not be alive today," said Memunatu Fofanah when recalling the experience at a Chinese treatment center in Sierra Leone after testing positive for Ebola.

Fofanah, a community health nurse in Sierra Leone's capital Freetown, was one of the Ebola survivors thanks to China's aid in consonance with the government and other development partners.

Fofanah said she contracted the Ebola virus through her father, who was very ill when he was brought from the northern part of the country. As a nurse she decided to receive some medical care and was later taken to her health clinic at Upper Allen about 30 km from the city where her father passed away.

A few days later she started feeling sick and developed a high fever, then decided to consult medical attention but was advised to call 117, the Ebola Emergency Response Center.

"I listened to the advice and promptly the command center dispatched an ambulance that conveyed me to the Chinese treatment center at Jui on the outskirts of the city, where I was diagnosed with the Ebola virus," said Fofanah.

"My first week in the hospital was not easy. I lost hope because I had lost considerable weight, was vomiting and could hardly walk. The Chinese started to give me intravenous fluids as well as treatment for the high fever, coupled with words of consolation that I would not die, that 'I would survive," she said.

Fofanah recalled that within two weeks "I must say that I owe my survival to the care and treatment I got at the center, for which I am very grateful."

Like Memunatu Fofanah, all the survivors that spoke to Xinhua had similar stories of harrowing experiences with the dreaded disease and the support from the Chinese treatment center.

Maseray Kamara, Another Ebola survivor who lost her five-month-old child, said it was through this confused state of mind that she probably might have contracted the disease.

Like her compatriots, Kamara got her healing through support and treatment from the Chinese medical team. She explained that she manifested the symptoms a week afterher child's death and was rushed to the Jui treatment center where she was handled with care, noting that they were visited at least two times a day by the Chinese doctors and nurses to administer medicines and psychosocial support.

According to the figures available from the Chinese embassy, the center has treated about 671 patients, among which there are 151 Ebola-positive.

Since the Ebola outbreak, about 8,000 Sierra Leoneans have been infected, of which some 2,000 have survived whilst some 2,859 have succumbed to the dreaded disease, including hundreds of medical personnel.

When the president of the west African state of Sierra Leone reported the first case of the Ebola virus about nine months ago, China was one of the first countries to respond to the call of the west African state by dispatching a plane load of medical supplies including personal protective equipment, medical personnel as well as drugs.

The equipment was also supplemented with two mobile laboratories. The Sierra Leone-Chinese Friendship hospital was immediately transformed into a holding center and later to a treatment center, especially when the disease became endemic.

Duan Xuezhang, a Chinese expert at the treatment center, explained that though Ebola has no known cure, early diagnosis at the treatment center will increase the chances of a patient's survival.

According to him the main problem is "dehydration and infection." Duan noted that when a person is very weak "he or she is susceptible to infection." In this case "the main therapy is fluid resuscitation with supportive treatment."

The Chinese medical team comprises 41 staff members, including 8 doctors, 16 nurses and other supporting staff. They visit the patients two times a day to administer drugs as well as give them psychological and social support for their hope and confidence.

As the country is now recording single digit figures, he advised that "we should not be complacent and ensure all suspected cases are isolated to prevent further spread and ensure that those with the virus are taken to the treatment centers as soon as possible".

He maintained that "the Chinese will be here until Ebola is kicked out of Sierra Leone."

Slum girl to silver screen: Uganda's chess prodigy

Yahoo – AFP, Amy Fallon, 1 March 2015

Phiona Mutesi (L) plays a game of chess with her colleagues at the chess 
academy in Kibuye, Kampala, on January 26, 2015 (AFP Photo/Isaac Kasamani)

Kampala (AFP) - Phiona Mutesi happened upon chess as a famished nine-year-old foraging for food in the sprawling and impoverished slums of the Ugandan capital.

"I was very hungry," said Mutesi, aged about 18.

Now a chess champion who competes internationally, her tale of triumph over adversity is being turned into a Hollywood epic with Oscar-winning Kenyan actress Lupita Nyong'o tipped to play her mother.

"My dad had died, and after the age of three we started struggling to get food to eat, my mum was not working," Mutesi told AFP. They lived on one meal a day.

The film, entitled "Queen of Katwe", is
based on a book of the same name 
about Phiona Mutesi by American writer 
Tim Crothers (AFP Photo/Isaac
Kasamani)
She was forced to drop out of school aged six when her mother could not pay the fees.

"You can’t just wake up and say 'today': you have to plan first."

One day, Mutesi discovered a chess program held in a church in the Katwe slum districts in Kampala. Potential players were enticed with a free cup of porridge, and Mutesi began organising her days around this.

"It was so interesting," she recalled of her introduction to pawns, rooks, bishops, knights and kings in 2005. "But I didn’t go there for chess, I went just to get a meal."

As she returned week after week, something unexpected happened that would transform Mutesi's life.

'Incredible impact'

The young girl developed a talent for chess, which was only introduced in Uganda in the 1970s by foreign doctors and was still seen as a game played by the rich. And her talent turned into a passion.

"I like chess because it involves planning," said Mutesi. "If you don't plan, you will end up with your life so bad."

The film, entitled "Queen of Katwe", is based on a book of the same name about Mutesi by American writer Tim Crothers. It is to be shot in Uganda and South Africa, directed by Mira Nair. Filming will reportedly begin in late March.

Coach and mentor Robert Katende, of the Sports Outreach Ministry, remembers Mutesi wearing "dirty torn clothes" when he met her a decade ago.

"She was really desperate for survival," said Katende, who is building a chess academy to accommodate 150 students outside Kampala.

Two years into the game, Mutesi became Uganda's national women's junior champion, defending her title the next year.

"Phiona Mutesi has flourished," Vianney Luggya, president of the Uganda Chess Federation, told AFP. "She made history in the schools' competition by becoming the first girl to compete in the boys' category. It was certainly surprising."

By the time she participated in her first international competition, Africa's International Children's Chess Tournament in South Sudan in 2009, Mutesi still had not read a book.

'Believe in yourself'

"It was really wonderful because it was my first time abroad," she said. "It was my first time to sleep in a hotel. We came back with a trophy."

Since then Mutesi has competed in chess Olympiads in Russia's Siberia, in Turkey -- after which she was given the Woman Candidate Master ranking by FIDE, the World Chess Federation -- and in Norway last year.

The teenager, who has two more years of high school left, hopes to go to the next Olympiad in 2016 in Azerbaijan.

Overseas, Mutesi has also played against her hero, Russian former world champion and Grandmaster Garry Kasparov, and inspired school students in the US to start a tournament in her name.

Back home, her fame has had "an incredible impact", said Luggya.

"The number of lady players participating in national chess championships has doubled," he said, adding that each of the 26 schools set to compete in Uganda's annual championships in April will have girls and boys teams.

Uganda's female players have also been spurred on by the success of Ivy Amoko, who became east Africa’s first FIDE Master last year.

Overseas, Phiona Mutesi, pictured at home with her medals, has played against
 her hero, Russian former world champion and Grandmaster Garry Kasparov, and
 inspired school students in the US to start a tournament in her name (AFP Photo/
Michele Sibiloni)

A recent week-long chess clinic, involving Mutesi, attracted more than 200 participants, most of them female, from Kampala slums and surrounding communities.

British-Nigerian actor David Oyelowo -- nominated for a Gold Globe Award for his portrayal of Martin Luther King in the 2014 drama "Selma" -- is also set to star in "Queen of Katwe".

Luggya hopes the film will "open doors" for all players in Uganda, saying: "I think Ugandans realise that it is a brain game that can enhance their potential in all other aspects of life."

Though the country now has east Africa's only International Master, Elijah Emojong, and the region's biggest number of titled players, Uganda still struggles with kit and trainers -- normally volunteers -- plus sponsorship for overseas titles.

Mutesi is aware this may hold her back ultimately.

But while her goal is to rise to Grandmaster, she also hopes to become a paediatrician and open a home for children, especially girls facing the same predicament she overcame.

"Girls are always under-looked, even in chess," said Mutesi. "But I don't think there's any reason why a girl cannot beat a boy. It comes from believing in yourself."

Mali peace deal to be signed Sunday in Algiers: ministry

Yahoo – AFP, Amal Belalloufi, 1 March 2015

Algerian FM Ramtane Lamamra (R) signs documents overseeing a peace 
agreement between the Malian government and armed groups, February 19, 
2015 in Algiers (AFP Photo/Farouk Batiche)

Algiers (AFP) - Mali's government and six militant groups from the country's violence-strewn north are to sign a peace accord in Algiers on Sunday, the Algerian foreign ministry announced.

"The Malian parties will sign a peace accord on Sunday morning under the auspices of Algeria" at a ceremony in the capital, a ministry source said on Saturday.

The ministry invited the media to the signing ceremony at 8:30 am (0730 GMT).

Ethnic divisions run deep in the west African nation's northern desert, the cradle of a Tuareg separatist movement which has spawned several rebellions since the 1960s.

French troops patrol on October 30, 2013,
 in a desert near the village of Bamba, 
between Timbuktu and Gao, northern 
Mali (AFP Photo/Philippe Desmazes)
Algeria and the United Nations have led mediation talks in Algiers since last July between ministers and six armed rebel groups amid an uptick in violence that threatened to jeopardise the peace process.

The militant organisations which took part are dominated by Tuareg and Arabs, however, and no jihadist group was invited to the dialogue.

Militants linked to Al-Qaeda seized control of northern Mali for more than nine months until a French-led military intervention of 2013 that partly drove them from the region.

The accord transfers a raft of powers from Bamako to the country's restive north.

The 30-page "Agreement for Peace and Reconciliation in Mali from the Algiers Process", seen by AFP on Friday, calls for "reconstruction of the country's national unity" in a manner that "respects its territorial integrity and takes account of its ethnic and cultural diversity".

The draft deal proposes the creation of powerful elected regional assemblies led by a directly elected president, as well as "greater representation of the northern populations in national institutions".

'Azawad reality'

From 2018 the government will set up a "mechanism to transfer 30 percent of budget revenues from the state to local authorities... with particular attention to the North", according to the document.

It envisages an internationally funded Northern Development Zone to raise living standards to the levels enjoyed by the inhabitants of the rest of the country within 10-15 years.

The document refers to "Azawad" -- the local name for a swathe of disputed territory the size of Texas -- as "a socio-cultural reality... shared by different populations of northern Mali".

The draft sets out plans for a national conference bringing all sides together within two years of the signing of a "final and comprehensive peace agreement".

A fifth round of talks started on February 16 aimed at bringing a lasting peace to northern Mali, which remains unstable despite the French-led intervention against Islamist rebels.

Under the draft, militants are to be integrated into the Malian army to be redeployed in the north of the country, with joint patrols to start within two months of the deal being signed.

On the economic front, a development zone will be set up for northern Mali to bring it up to the level of the rest of the country, with a share of the state budget being transferred to the north and revenues from natural resources being shared, within a period of 10 to 15 years.

Finances are to be raised at an international donor conference.

An international commission of inquiry will be tasked under the accord to probe war crimes, crimes against humanity, genocide and other serious violations of human rights committed in the Mali conflict.

Political scientist Rachid Tlemcani, contacted by AFP, said the accord would be "a great victory of Algerian diplomacy" if it succeeds, but remained "sceptical" that it would resolve the root causes of the conflict.

Related Articles:


Pope Francis calls for peace, end to slavery in 2015


Archangel Michael: Peace on Earth is Not a Dream

Golden Age of GaiaSteve Beckow, February 13, 2015

Archangel Michael will find a way to get his message out. Linda was not planning on giving a reading today, but a caller begged her. And in the course of the reading, AAM sent a message to all of us. Here it is:

Greetings I am Michael, Archangel of Peace, Warrior of Love, bringer of news.

Our time is at hand and you know this. As we nudge, encourage and conjoin with so many upon the planet to bring forth in form not merely in heart but in form, not only the promise of peace but the actuality of peace.

This is not a dream. This is not an unreality. This is not, as some think, ‘pie in the sky.’

This is what our partnership, our sacred union, our co-creation together, is capable of. And always has been. Only now the human vibration, frequency and knowingness has risen to a level where humans are consciously aware that they are able and capable of anchoring peace on Earth with us right now.

This is not merely an exercise of intent, but of will and action. It is a glorious day. It is not a day of defeat. It is not a day of fear. It is not a day of worry. It is a glorious day!

So I reassure you, my beloved one, and I reassure many, peace is at hand. And I thank you for all the assistance, the diligence, all the consistency that you have offered to and with me – you are cherished.


"Recalibration of Knowledge" – Jan 14, 2012 (Kryon channelled by Lee Carroll) - (Subjects: Channelling, God-Creator, Benevolent Design, New Energy, Shift of Human Consciousness, (Old) SoulsReincarnation, Gaia, Old Energies (Africa, Terrorists, Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Venezuela ... ), Weather, Rejuvenation, Akash, Nicolas Tesla / Einstein, Cold Fusion, Magnetics, Lemuria, Atomic Structure (Electrons, Particles, Polarity, Self Balancing, Magnetism), Entanglement, "Life is necessary for a Universe to exist and not the other way around", DNA, Humans (Baby getting ready, First Breath, Stem Cells, Embryonic Stem Cells, Rejuvenation), Global Unity, ... etc.) (Text Version)

“…  I want you to watch some countries. I don't have a clock [this statement is Kryon telling us that there is no time frame on his side of the veil, only potentials]. I'll just tell you, it's imminent [in Spirit's timing, this could mean as soon as a decade]. I want you to watch some countries carefully for changes. You're going to be seeing changes that are obvious, and some that are not obvious [covert or assumptive]. But the obvious ones you will see sooner than not - Cuba, Korea [North], Iran, of course, and Venezuela. I want you to watch what happens when they start to realize that they don't have any more allies on Earth! Even their brothers who used to support them in their hatred of some are saying, "Well, perhaps not anymore. It doesn't seem to be supporting us anymore." Watch the synchronicities that are occurring. The leaders who have either died or are going to in the next year or so will take with them the old ways. Watch what happens to those who take their place, and remember these meetings where I described these potentials to you. …”


"Recalibration of Free Choice"–  Mar 3, 2012 (Kryon Channelling by Lee Caroll) - (Subjects: (Old) SoulsMidpoint on 21-12-2012, Shift of Human Consciousness, Black & White vs. Color, 1 - Spirituality (Religions) shifting, Loose a Pope “soon”, 2 - Humans will change react to drama, 3 - Civilizations/Population on Earth,  4 - Alternate energy sources (Geothermal, Tidal (Paddle wheels), Wind), 5 – Financials Institutes/concepts will change (Integrity – Ethical) , 6 - News/Media/TV to change, 7 – Big Pharmaceutical company will collapse “soon”, (Keep people sick), (Integrity – Ethical)  8 – Wars will be over on Earth, Global Unity, … etc.) (Text version)

“…  8 - The End of War

The last one is the best. For thousands of years on this planet, Human Beings have warred with each other. If you take a look at the reasons they warred with each other, you will quickly see there aren't any good ones - land, resources, greed. Those are not reasons. That is a description of old energy. Those are not reasons. Reasons would be perhaps defense against an aggressor. But what if there is no longer the consciousness of the aggressor?

When I appeared in my partner's life more than 20 years ago, I said to him privately that the first messages we're going to give will be unbelievable. There would be laughter. We told him that Human nature and consciousness itself would change, and that the seeds of peace would be planted and there would come a time where there is no more war. Indeed, the laughter was great because humans look at history and they see patterns based on an absolute energy called Human Nature. "Impossible! There always has to be war. There always has been. Therefore, there always will be." This is you, in a box, in a black and white potential, where you can only see the black and white of what is and the black and white of what has been. You have no idea the shades of color that are there in your consciousness and the beauty of the love of God.

North Korea is on the edge of change, as we told you it might be. What did this require? The death of the old energy, and I want you to watch this take place. The advisors of the young leader are going to do their best to pull him back into an old energy. This free choice of his will be far different than his father, for he sees some color. Watch for these things. They'll take longer than you want, but it is the beginning of the beginning.

You'll see a fresh unification of South America sooner than not, for what is going to take place potentially this year in Venezuela. You'll see Iran changing. We have no clock. These are the potentials. These can change with free choice. These are not prophecies. This is a reality shift, dear ones, so number eight becomes the propensity not to war again. This is what Humans are going to want. This is what governments are going to want. There is a wisdom factor that will begin to happen on the planet that is grander than what you think is possible. For when you look at government, what do you think about? You see dysfunction, and there is an axiom that says the more people that try to do something together, the worse it gets. It all settles to the lowest common denominator. I'm telling you even those things are going to become old energy concepts. Instead, you're going to watch wisdom become the top potential.

I have no clock. I cannot tell you when. I can just tell you it is in the works, and there will be the seeds of it for you to observe soon - right now, in every single of the eight categories I showed you.

There are those who will say, "Well, Kryon, you're doing a lot more predictions than you used to." I want to tell you what's going on, dear one. I am not predicting anything. I am just telling you what's already there in the potential soup of your reality. That's what Humans are doing on this planet, and for those who believe this communication, you should breathe a sigh of relief and say, "It's about time." ….”

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Mugabe celebrates 91st birthday with million-dollar bash

Yahoo – AFP, Farai Munganp28 feb 2015

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe (C) receives a signed gift next to
 his wife Grace Mugabe (2nd R) on February 28, 2015 during the celebration
of Mugabe's 91st birthday at Victoria Falls (AFP Photo/Jekesai Njikizana)

Victoria Falls (Zimbabwe) (AFP) - Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe on Saturday celebrated his 91st birthday with a lavish million dollar bash that was slammed by the opposition as "obscene" in a country wracked by poverty.

Thousands of supporters of the ruling ZANU-PF, many wearing party regalia emblazoned with the president's image, sang and danced as he arrived for the jamboree at a luxury hotel in the famed Victoria Falls resort.

Assisted by his wife Grace, the elderly liberation leader, who wore a black suit, white shirt and red tie, threw 91 balloons into the air.

The party, which comes a week after Mugabe's birthday, was held on the hotel golf course, with white marquees housing the guests.

Elephants were slaughtered for the feast and seven huge cakes were on display in one of the tents.

One giant 91-kilo creation depicted the spectacular Victoria Falls, which empty into the Zambezi river that forms the border between Zimbabwe and Zambia.

Addressing the gathering in a 90-minute speech, Mugabe castigated the US which has imposed sanctions on both Zimbabwe and him personally.

"They (the US) can't have it both ways if they want to be friends then they must be friends with us in total and we allow them to have some safaris," he said.

"But they can't say 'allow our people to visit, allow our people to have safaris, to kill our lions and take safari trophies to America," he added.

The extravagance of Mugabe's birthday parties are a subject of annual controversy in Zimbabwe.

The opposition Movement for Democratic Change called Saturday's festivities "obscene".

"All the money that has been collected to bankroll this obscene jamboree should be immediately channelled towards rehabilitating the collapsed public hospitals, clinics and rural schools in Matebeleland North province," MDC spokesman Obert Gutu said last week, referring to the province where Victoria Falls is located.

Mugabe, who has ruled Zimbabwe since independence from Britain in 1980, is the world's oldest leader.

One of the banners welcoming him to the party praised him as "the icon of Zimbabwe's revolution."

"Forward with President Mugabe," supporters chanted.

Several speakers wished him good health, with one youth leader urging the authorities to declare February 21 -- his birthday -- a national holiday.

While hailed by many African peers as a liberation hero, critics accuse the Zimbabwean strongman of turning southern Africa's former bread basket into a basket case by trampling human rights, democracy and the rule of law.

Mugabe's violent seizure of white-owned farms triggered food shortages and hyper-inflation, while Europe and the United States imposed sanctions on Zimbabwe over elections seen as rigged.

In an interview marking his birthday, Mugabe admitted he blundered by giving ill-equipped black farmers vast tracts of farmland under his controversial land reforms.

"I think the farms we gave to people are too large. They can't manage them," Mugabe said.

He also shrugged off questions over an incident earlier this month in which he missed a step and stumbled from a podium.

"I have yet to come across to a person who has not fallen. It was a slight fall, missing a step," Mugabe told state-controlled television.

Despite his age, Mugabe appears to be in reasonable health, and according to one analyst, can regard himself as having plenty to celebrate following years of international criticism.

"If his aim was to rule Zimbabwe and become the king of Zimbabwe for a long time, and whatever happened to the country he would stay there and become a continent-wide hero, I think he's achieved those aims," Dowden said.

"The fact that Zimbabwe has been ruined in the process and it's now just run by thieves who call themselves ministers, looting the place continually, I don't think that worries him a bit," he added.

One-year ban on ivory carving imports to China

Want China Times, Xinhua 2015-02-28

Elephants in Amboseli National Park in Kenya, July 16, 2014. (Photo/Xinhua)

Chinese authorities on Thursday announced a one-year ban on imports of African ivory carvings acquired in accordance with the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora.

In a brief statement on its website, the State Forestry Administration said it would halt administrative approval for the imports until Feb. 26, 2016.

The agency said the move is to protect African elephants, and the one-year timeframe is designed to assess the effects.

The sale of ivory is legal in China if the activities conform with certain regulations. Imports of ivory and its products must gain approval from the State Forestry Administration.

According to the rules, raw elephant ivory and its products should be processed at designated places, sold at fixed shops and tracked on an individual item basis. Each legal ivory product can be tracked through a unique photo ID and is recorded in a database.


Related Articles:




Thursday, February 26, 2015

Ex-Yemen President Saleh amassed 'up to 60 billion,' UN reports

Ali Abdullah Saleh, the former president of Yemen, allegedly siphoned billions of dollars into his own coffers while in power. The evidence stems from a UN report about the deposed leader.

Deutsche Welle, 26 Feb 2015


An expert panel presented the UN Security Council with a report this week outlining the alleged corruption practices of former Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh. The main finding of the report highlighted the fortune - estimated to be between $32-$60 billion (28 billion-53 billion euros) - which the former strongman amassed during his 33 years in power.

"These assets are said to take the form of property, cash, shares, gold and other valuable commodities," the expert report said, adding that he had transferred the majority of those assets to roughly 20 countries under false names.

According to the findings of the UN probe, Saleh was able to hide the funds with the help of five prominent Yemeni businessmen. Using companies and other individuals as fronts also helped shield him from assets freezes.

"The origin of the funds used to generate [Saleh's] wealth is believed to be…particularly [related] to gas and oil contracts where he reportedly asked for money in exchange for granting companies exclusive rights to prospect for gas and oil in Yemen."

The investigators estimated that he earned nearly $2 billion annually during his presidency.
"Many have argued that the country's spiraling debt and economic problems would be alleviated with a repatriation of these alleged stolen assets," it added.

Saleh and Yemen's political turmoil

Yemen has devolved into economic instability and political turmoil in the time since Saleh's forced resignation in 2012 after Yemen's Arab Spring uprising. Most recently, Shiite Houthi rebels have solidified their power in Yemen's north and taken over the capital city, Sanaa. The political crisis resulted in house arrest for President Abd Rabu Mansour, who recently fled to the south and rescinded his resignation.

Wednesday's report included information from sources who alleged that Saleh has been stockpiling weapons since being deposed, supporting allegations that he has played a role in the current unrest.

Many countries, including Germany, the United States and Middle Eastern nations have closed their embassies in Yemen amid security concerns. Late last week, rival factions in Yemen agreed to create a transitional council under UN oversight in order to help govern the country along with the parliament. The council is to include representatives from social groups that have traditionally lacked a voice in Yemeni politics.

kms/sms (AP, dpa)

Monday, February 23, 2015

German foreign minister seeking 'anchors of stability' in Africa

Germany's Foreign Minister Frank Walter Steinmeier is seeking to intensify ties between Germany and Africa. Berlin is particularly interested in countries that foster regional stability.

Deutsche Welle, 23 Feb 2015

German Foreign Minister Steinmeir with kenyan President

Steinmeier's four-day trip took him to three countries - the Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda and Kenya - and its purpose is to forge new partnerships for Germany.

There were occasional glitches. At the Nairobi museum, the minister was shown the start of a film with sound, but no pictures.

But such mishaps did not stop the high-level cultural and scientific delegation from Germany engaging in a lively debate with Kenya's cultural elite about new forms of cooperation with Africa. Such cooperation is expected to acquire tangible shape at a newly created Humboldt Forum in Berlin starting in 2019.

Cultivating a new relationship with Africa was the main goal of the foreign minister's four-day tour. In spite of the ongoing crises in Ukraine, the Middle East and Greece, Steinmeier went ahead with his Africa tour, the fourth in twelve months, to promote Germany's new Africa policy.

"We have to look at Africa in a new way," Steinmeier said. Germany still tends to view Africa as the continent of crises and conflicts. "But this is no longer true for all of Africa, because there are also anchors of stability in which we are particularly interested," the German minister said.

Rwanda accuses MONUSCO commanders of doing too little in the
fight against the FDLR rebels

'Where is Germany?'

Steinmeier said one anchor of stability in the region was Rwanda, despite deficits in democratic governance and its tense relationship with its neighbor, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

But Rwanda is not satisfied with the work of the UN peacekeeping mission MONUSCO to which Germany contributes more than 100 million euros (US$ 113 million) every year.

Rwandan Foreign Minister Louise Mushikiwabo said FDLR Hutu rebels were still active in the border region where they were spreading "ethnic poison." They have to be "eliminated," the Rwandan minister said bluntly. She blamed the head of MONUSCO Martin Kobler - who otherwise enjoys an excellent reputation - for the FDLR's continued presence in the region.

Mushikiwabo wants Germany to take on a far bigger role in the region. Currently only France, the UK and Belgium are active there."Where is Germany?" she asked, "We want more German presence here seen in the region, and across the continent."

Anchors of stability are rare in Central and East Africa. A few days ago, German President Joachim Gauck added Tanzania to the list.

Kenya, the last leg of Steinmeier's tour, is not one of them. The Somali terrorist militia group al-Shabab has repeatedly carried out attacks in the country and the internal political situation is considered fragile. But Steinmeier noted to Kenya's credit that it is the country that is promoting regional cooperation within the framework of the East African Community (EAC).

Steinemeir described Rwanda as an anchor of stability despite
 'deficits in democratic governance'

East Africa - a dependable partner

Steinmeier believes East Africa could develop into a politically strong and economically stable region. A customs union encompassing Rwanda, Kenya, Tanzania, Burundi and Uganda, would create an internal market of at least 160 million consumers. During this trip Steinmeier referred cautiously to "a region of growing political and economic stability."

Some members of the younger generation of East Africans, whether in DR Congo, Rwanda or Kenya, are apparently pinning their hopes on Germany.

In surveys or comments on Facebook, young people say wish German companies could help boost the recovery of their respective national economies. They would also like German politicians to act as act as a counterweight to their often corrupt and patriarchal elites.

"Young people want change," said, Mukazi Ndekezi, a student of international relations from Rwanda. Mukazi, who is a youth ambassador, seeks to promote the interests of young people at the EAC. Not surprisingly, she believes regional cooperation will succeed. Young people between the ages of 17 and 35, she notes, account for two thirds of the population of the EAC region.

"They're really done with conflicts," she said of the under-35s. "And I have seen a positive impact of the regional integration. Like students, they collaborate, they talk, they discuss, and they share their views, their ideas. And then they understand each other."

Germany's foreign minister - who she can only see from afar in Kigali - would have readily welcomed such sentiments.

African nations face dilemma over digital switch

The UN has set June as the deadline for moving from analog to digital transmission. Only a few African countries seem prepared for the change. Even the largest television markets on the continent are lagging behind.

Deutsche Welle, 23 Feb 2015

A group of people stands near three large satellite dishes in a rural area.
Photo: John Hrusa epa dpa

Staring at a blank TV screen has become a reality for most Kenyans, and many other African TV viewers could face the same fate come June 17. That is the deadline set by the UN's International Telecommunication Union (ITU) for television programs to be transmitted only digitally.

After the deadline, satellite dishes and antennas will receive their signals via a different technology. Theoretically, it will be possible to receive many more channels and enjoy improved image quality.

There is a story behind Kenya's black screens. President Uhuru Kenyatta's government ordered a consortium of four major television networks to be blocked from broadcasting in analog. This happened after they refused to change their signals to digital. The media houses argued that they were not ready yet, and now they are in court trying to push for one hundred more days to prepare for the digital transition.

Apart from Nigeria and South Africa, Kenya is one of the largest television markets in Africa.

The Standard Group,one of Kenya's leading media house, says
it needs more time for the switchover

All three countries are not ready for the switchover, says Mike Jensen, an IT specialist with the Association for Progressive Communications (APC) based in South Africa. "The Kenyan situation is probably the worst-case scenario on the continent; South Africa is pretty close," Jensen said. "In Nigeria, only one state has made the switch," Jensen told DW.

Nationwide coverage after the switchover to digital broadcasting is by no means ensured in African countries. As in Kenya, it is often about money. The change is costly for governments and citizens alike, the APC states on its website, which seeks to create an awareness of the issue.

Television viewers will usually need a decoder, which costs about $50 (44 euros), to decode the digital signal. Moreover, television companies will have to dig deep into their pockets to be able to broadcast their programs using the new technology.

Tanzania a digital model

Vera Moses, a Tanzanian viewer, says she is happy with the digital reception. "The quality of the pictures is good," she told DW in an interview.

Tanzania is one of three countries that has already largely switched to wide-band Digital Video Broadcasting (DVB). "In Dar es Salaam we already switched off analog transmission at the end of 2012," John Nkoma, the director of Tanzania's Communications Regulatory Authority (TCRA), told DW. Most cities are now receiving programs via DVB-T, which is terrestrial digital broadcasting via antenna. The remote parts of Tanzania receive broadcasts via satellite.

Dar es Salaam has already gone digital
It took some persuasion to convince citizens and businesses of the merits of the new system, Nkoma said, as he revealed two secrets to Tanzania's success: Firstly, decoders were taxed less. "The price for the decoders is artificially low," Nkoma said, "so they have become affordable." Tanzanians can get a decoder for $30.

Secondly, user habits were taken into consideration. "The public was used to free-to-air channels, so we required that in the digital broadcasting platform there would be the five popular channels of this country and those would be available as free channels." Viewers whose subscriptions expire would have these five channels to fall back on.

Market interests

But according to APC's Mike Jensen, that is not the whole story. Tanzania and neighboring Rwanda had forced the switchover on the public by shutting off the analog signal. Of course, there were citizens in both countries who simply could not afford the necessary equipment, Jensen said.

He thinks governments should guarantee a realistic compensation for the costs. The price of a decoder, Jensen said, was also a big issue in Mauritius. The government ordered large amounts of cheap decoders from China. Many of which had defects.

Satellite transmission is also to be digitalized

Jensen also does not understand the date the ITU has chosen. He estimates that by then only six countries may succeed in formally completing the switchover.

Germany has already changed to digital broadcasting, and so have most of the other industrialized nations. But Latin America has planned the switchover for as late as 2020.

Jensen says African telecommunications companies pushed for the early date for Africa. These companies, he said, were the only ones to profit from such a date, because they wanted to monopolize television broadcasting.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Obama adviser John Podesta's biggest regret: Keeping America in dark about UFOs

Yahoo  News, Caitlin Dickson, February 13, 2015

In this Nov. 19, 2014 file photo, Counselor to the President John Podesta speaks in
 Washington, Wednesday, Nov. 19, 2014. In the year that will pass before the 2016 
campaign for president formally kicks off with the votes in the Iowa Caucus, any
 number of candidates, donors, political operatives — and people who have nothing
 to do with American politics — will shape the race for the White House. (AP Photo/
Manuel Balce Ceneta, File)

Outgoing senior Obama adviser John Podesta reflected on his latest White House stint Friday, listing his favorite moments and biggest regrets from the past year. Chief among them: depriving the American people of the truth about UFOs.


Podesta’s longtime fascination with UFOs is well-documented, as his brief political hiatus following four years as President Bill Clinton’s chief of staff freed him up to pursue his otherworldly passion.

At a 2002 press conference organized by the Coalition for Freedom of Information, Podesta spoke on the importance of disclosing government UFO investigations to the public.

“It’s time to find out what the truth really is that’s out there,”  he said. “We ought to do it, really, because it’s right. We ought to do it, quite frankly, because the American people can handle the truth. And we ought to do it because it’s the law.”


Following Podesta’s tweet, Friday, the Washington Post recalled an exchange one of its reporters had with Podesta in 2007. Karen Tumulty had asked Podesta about reports that the Clinton Library in Little Rock, Arkansas, had been bombarded with Freedom of Information Act Requests specifically seeking email correspondence to and from the former chief of staff including terms like “X-Files” and “Area 51.” Podesta’s response, through a spokesperson, was “The truth is out there,” the tagline for the TV show “The X-Files” of which Podesta was known to be a fan.

A 2010 editorial in Missouri’s Columbia Tribune disparaged reports that Podesta had asked an outspoken UFO photographer to stop discussing his knowledge of extraterrestrial activities in public.

“One wonders why Podesta would do such a radical reversal, given his former plea for UFO disclosure,” the editorial implored.

But contrary to the Columbia Tribune’s concerns, Podesta had clearly not abandoned the cause. He wrote an introduction to the 2010 book “UFOs: Generals, Pilots, and Government Officials Go on the Record.”

Unfortunately, Podesta will likely have little time to fill out FOIA requests in his new job at Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign. Perhaps, as his tweet suggests, he’s passing the torch to New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd.

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"... Question Three: Is there life on other planets?

Are you kidding? There's life everywhere. Everywhere! Right now, your scientists are searching for microbial life on all the planets and their moons in your solar system, and they will eventually find it. They expect to find it. They will eventually understand that the seeds of life are everywhere.

How much life might there be? How long has it been "out there"? When science starts to realize the scope of how long life has been in your galaxy, they will begin to see something counterintuitive to evolution - their own Human history. How old is your Universe? Ask your scientists and they will say about 13 billion years. That's OK. Let's use their numbers. How old is your own planet - 4 or 5 billion, perhaps? Correct. But how old is humanity? Why weren't you here with the dinosaurs? You think the earth wasn't ready? Do you think that perhaps that which controls evolution was a little too stupid to make a Human sooner, but the process could make a dinosaur? Have you ever thought about these things?

If you put the earth's entire history into a 24-hour clock, life itself only started in the last hour and humanity, all of civilization, happened the last few seconds. Isn't that odd to you? Therefore, in a Universe that may be 13 billion years old, you arrived in the last few seconds. Did you ever think maybe you're the newest ones on the block? Well, you'd be right.

If the Universe is really that old, do you think perhaps there are civilizations in your galaxy that might be a billion or more years older than you? If that's the case, do you think perhaps they have gone through anything you're going through? Do you think any of them might have had your DNA attributes? Perhaps they also went through what you are going through spiritually? Perhaps they even went into a quantum ascension status? The answer is dozens of them.

You already know them and you've listed them in your publications. The ones who directly seeded you are called Pleiadians. The ones who seeded them might be Octurian and the ones who seeded them may be even Orion. They're everywhere, and they're all here as well. They're looking at you, for you are the ones who are next, and you are passing this marker of the shift

Oh, dear ones, it's going to be a long time before you really know any of these things to be your reality. The first step is peace on Earth. The next is a new kind of Human evolution that is going to increase your DNA efficiency to 100% and you're going to live a long time. Every time I say that, there are Humans in their intellectual mind saying, "Well, there is a geometric birth rate going on. We're not going to make it. It's going to over-crowd and we are going to run out of food. So what you're saying, Kryon, can't be a good thing. We're all going to be suffering and killing each other for food."

Let me address this, for if that is your thought, Human, you are assuming Humans are stupid and haven't figured out what's going on and why there's so much birth. You assume they can't control it because they haven't figured it out? I want to tell you, you're going to see something you didn't expect. You're going to see a decline in birth rate because Humans are smart and they're getting smarter. They're going to see that quality of life is linked to the number of children they have, and they're going to figure out the solution. It won't be how many children their church says they should have. They are going to do it intuitively. You're going to see it sooner than not.

You are going to see wisdom on the planet in many areas that no sociologist would ever have predicted. You will surprise them all, and it's going to happen without a government program. It's going to happen because you decide you want it. It's going to happen collectively, and you may even see it soon. Look for negative birth rates in first-world countries. Where Humans are able to see a larger picture and have freedom of information, the situation will not be what you have predicted.

Is there life on other planets? The scientists are saying, "It's going to be a long time before we get to the stars, you know? We have to get in this little metal can and put air in it, and then travel in it for years and years before we ever get to the next star." Meanwhile, a Pleiadian can do it in the blink of an eye! What do you think is going on there? Do you even believe me?

Not long ago, if you wanted to communicate to someone far away, you sent a letter. It was carried by a horse. It took a month to get a response. Now you communicate instantly!  Why is this so unbelievable to you about travel?

I will tell you, as long as you stay in 3D, you'll still be getting in little metal cans and air suits and going to planets. As soon as you begin the quantum age, however, you will simply wish yourself there, because you will be entangled with everything and can go with intent. If you don't believe this now, you will later, for what I give you is true. It may be lifetimes and lifetimes from now, but the group that is before me is the group that is going to come back over and over and over. The difference is that you're done coming back in an old energy. This is a new energy. ..”